As usual, summer came and went. There’s just a few weeks left to get those family vacations in before the kids are back to school. While Florida may be the hardest state in the country to drive out of, we’re pretty lucky when it comes to drivable family friendly destinations. Our panhandle shaped state never disappoints when it comes to beach resorts and great weather making long weekends possible all year long. Whether you’re looking for an end of summer getaway or already planning the next time you and the family are running away for the weekend – we’ve got the spots worth checking out.
Postcard Inn Beach Resort & Marina, Islamorada
Halfway to Key West you’ll stumble upon Islamorada home to Postcard Inn Beach Resort & Marina. As an ideal destination for families, Islamorada is known for its clear and calm waters, towering palm trees lining sandy beaches, beautiful orchids and bougainvillea and breathtaking sunsets. With plenty of activities and dining options onsite, Postcard Inn aims to create a vacation environment where once you arrive, there’s no need to step foot off the property. When it comes to dining there’s plenty of options – everything from raw bars, to fine dining, and even a yappy hour for the family dog. If history draws you to your destination of choice, Postcard Inn is home to the original Rum Runner, the Tiki Bar opened in 1969 and has become a must-see attraction for visitors and locals alike. In 1972, the hotel’s owner challenged his manager, “Tiki John,” to create a drink using only the overstock liquor in the storeroom. Concocting a mix of Bacardi Superior Rum, blackberry brandy, banana liqueur, lime juice and grenadine, the original Rum Runner was born and is still served to guests today using the same recipe. If lounging at the pool or beach isn’t enough for you and you’re looking for activities, Postcard Inn offers several unique marine adventures onsite and nearby including dive trips, fishing charters, fishing party boats, sunset cruises, snorkeling, jet skiing, boat rentals and swimming with dolphins. Postcard Inn features 121 standard queen and king guestrooms, 10 one- and two-bedroom suites, and 14 cottages allowing for plenty of options whether your family is big or small.
The Perry Key West at Stock Island Marina, Stock Island
Everyone knows and loves the laid back vibes of Key West. While it’s not always an ideal spot for a family vacation – Stock Island, just minutes away from Key West, is home to the newly opened Perry Key West hotel and is perfect for the family. This once upon a time working waterfront for fisherman has quietly turned into the perfect vacation destination over the last few years. Situated as part of Stock Island Marina, the largest deep water marina in the Florida Keys, this new hotel is inviting for families, fisherman, and more. The property keeps a local feel with on-site art studios kept by local island artists, a group of community greenhouses, and a dog park for man’s best friend (we know your pup deserves a vacation too). The Perry Hotel also encourages for guests to stay active as they have partnered with several local tour operators. You’ll find everything from SUP paddle board yoga with Lazy Dog Adventures, to snorkeling the Key West reefs with Namaste Eco-Excursions, to cruises to Cuba with Harmony Yacht Vacations. Hopefully you’re arriving hungry because the food at The Perry Hotel is a reason all on its own for a visit. Executive Chef Ryan Fredstrom, previously of Yard Bird on Miami Beach, knows his way around fresh fish and fried chicken. The hotel has two restaurants guaranteed to keep stomachs happy. For breakfast, don’t skip out on the banana bread at Matt’s Stock Island Kitchen & Bar. At lunch make a stop at the dockside bar, The Salty Oyster, for Key West Pink Shrimp and The Squealer – a smashed burger with bacon and cheese in the patty. For dinner, order it all and especially the Cornbread Mash. The 100 room boutique hotel is the perfect place for those who want to check out Key West, but also want a little quiet time while down there.
Zota Beach Resort, Longboat Key Sarasota
Situated along the west coast of Florida with powder soft beaches and turquoise waters of Longboat Key you’ll find the beachfront luxury, boutique resort – Zota Beach Resort, one of the newest members of the Opal Collection. The brand new 187-room resort is a perfect family vacation location. Located with easy access to museums and attractions in Bradenton and Sarasota and upscale shopping, entertainment and restaurants at St. Armands Circle, you’ll find no shortage of options for things to do. Zota Beach Resort has plenty on-site to keep guests happy and entertained. There are kayaks, paddle boards, and snorkeling gear for those who love being in the ocean and top of the line pool side cabanas perfect for spending the entire day outside, while still having couches, plenty of shade, and even televisions to keep family members of all ages out and about enjoying the stay. The pool area takes the center stage as the deck offers guests an infinity-edge pool and 21-person hot tub. The restaurant, Veinto Kitchen + Bar, located on the second floor boasts gorgeous views overlooking the pool and beach in prime sunset watching positions. There’s plenty of space for the entire family as the resort is home to 30 suites with separate bedroom and living room areas that include a sleeper sofa, so everyone has a place to stay. Some of the suites are extra luxurious with oversized balconies, writing desks, full kitchens and dining areas. Zota Beach Resort instantly feels like a home away from home.
Playa Largo Resort & Spa, Key Largo
Key Largo seems to be the forgotten Key. It’s the first big island when driving to the Keys from Miami and is often overlooked as travelers drive straight through it. Playa Largo Resort & Spa is the first new resort in 21+ years and also happens to be the most eco-friendly in the Florida Keys. The Autograph Collection Hotel is perfect for families traveling by car or even by boat – it has a 34-slip marina waiting for boaters to come visit. There are three dining options on property including, Sol by the Sea, Playa Largo’s waterfront restaurant ideal for any guests interested in enjoying prime sunset views with a cocktail or the freshest catch of the day. Las Olas Ceviche Bar, located in the lobby of Playa Largo, is the only ceviche restaurant in the Upper Keys. La Marea Steakhouse is serving up the highest-quality steaks around, drizzled in Playa Largo’s signature sauces, along with a wide selection of classic sides and house-crafted cocktails. Playa Largo is home to the Ocean Spa offering a diverse menu with something for everyone, including classic massages, skin enhancements, body treatments, hair & makeup services, specialty men’s services, wedding packages and even a Playa Largo Scrub Bar for guests to create their own tropical scrubs. The luxurious 6,000 square-foot spa, which is managed by WTS International, and features six treatment rooms, including one couple’s room, a co-ed relaxation lounge, a steam room, a hair & nail salon and Coco Mango Signature amenities throughout. Before or after your relaxing spa adventure, get active with the on-site paddle boards. Insider tip: On Friday evenings guests can go out for a paddle with the property’s General Manager, Mark Frances, and sip mojitos while watching the sunset on the water. Parents looking for a bit of a break on family vacations? We don’t blame you! Playa Largo has your back with Playa Kids, the resort’s daily discovery camp jam-packed with dive-in movies, scavenger hunts, games, sports, arts & crafts and more. They can also look forward to KNO – Kids’ Night Out – with a strict “no parents allowed” policy for a star-gazing, s’mores-making good time. A perfect way to make sure everyone gets a little relaxing time while on vacation.